Mashed Potatoes Recipe

September 16, 2012 41 Comments

Best Mashed Potatoes Recipe

What is the best recipe for mashed potatoes?

In my family, mashed potatoes were one of the first things I learned to make. It was also one of the first things I taught my daughters to cook.

Mashed potatoes seem to appeal to almost everyone. But here’s the tricky thing. Ask ten people how they like to prepare their mashed potatoes, and you’ll likely get ten different answers. That’s because, as with all food, defining the “best” mashed potato is a very subjective thing.

Mashed potatoes are one of those side dishes that you probably had more times than you can count when you were growing up, both at home and at the school cafeteria. And the way your mom made them – whether they were red potatoes smashed with their skins on or some mysterious reconstituted potato flakes – is quite probably the way that you like them today.

Or maybe you didn’t like your mom’s version of mashed potatoes and grew up thinking of them as bland, gummy, watery or just plain gloppy. And then, when you had mashed potatoes at your girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s house or at a restaurant, you suddenly realized that mashed potatoes were fantastic. Sorry mom.

But what happens when a reconstituted potato loving person marries a red potatoes mashed with skins person and they look at each other for the first time and one says, “Hey, how about mashed potatoes for dinner tonight?”

“Oh! My favorite!” says the other. What happens next could get ugly.

My wife and I have fortunately have the exact same taste when it comes to mashed potatoes. She makes them completely different from my mom who used a mixer to whip tons of air into hers. My wife prepares them with an old fashion tomato masher that she either found at a garage sale or grabbed from her mom’s kitchen on the way to college.

Over the years I have watched many friends make their mashed potatoes and it’s amazing how many different ways there are to smash these tubers. Below we will look at how choosing the best potato, how to cook them, how to mash them and then how to season and add additional flavor. But first, here is my basic recipe for mashed potatoes.

The Basic Mashed Potato Version

Best Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Best Mashed Potatoes Recipe


2 pounds of potatoes - either starchy - waxy or a mix of both

1 teaspoon salt

6-8 tablespoons (3-4 ounces) unsalted butter

1 cup half and half

freshly ground black or white pepper - to taste,

How To Prepare At Home

Cook the potatoes until fork tender.

Mash with salt, butter and half and half.

Season with freshly ground pepper

Now that we have a working list of ingredients and a method, there are plenty of other decisions to make.

Now Let’s Consider A Few Options

Choosing the Right Potato to Mash

A potato is basically a package that contains starch, sugar and water along with some nutrients, especially in the skins. But, there are many different varieties of potato, and they differ in the proportions of each component.

Most cookbooks tell you to use high starch potatoes for mashing, like the russet or the slightly less but still starchy Yukon Gold. Starches swell at about 150°F, so the more starch your potato contains, the fluffier your mashed potatoes will be.

That makes sense to me, but just when I start to think I have a good handle on the right potato to mash, I hear otherwise.

My friend, who happens to be a chef, likes to mash waxy (lower-starch) potatoes like the thin skinned red or round white varieties. He says that waxy potatoes absorb less water, hold up better while cooking and have more potato flavor than high starch potatoes.

Well, I just had to test out his theory, and so I mashed two pounds each of both starchy and waxy potatoes. I cooked and then mashed them exactly the same way with the same ingredients. I found that it was a bit harder to mash the waxy potatoes, but with a little extra elbow grease, I managed to get them just as smooth as the starchy potatoes.

As it turned out, I liked the flavor of the waxy potatoes better, but my wife thought they tasted waxy and preferred our usual russets. If the first word that comes to your mind to describe mashed potatoes is “starchy,” then you might want to switch to mashing waxy potatoes.

And this makes sense. A potato that contains less starch is less apt to taste starchy than a potato that contains more starch.

mashed potato recipe

What about mashed potatoes color?

I really love to mash Yukon Gold potatoes because of their rich, buttery color and flavor, but these contain a relatively high amount of starch, especially when compared to waxy potatoes.

My chef friend, Chef Ricco, said that to reduce the starch content in starchy potatoes before mashing, peel and quarter them the night before, and let them soak in cold water overnight. After the long soak, the water will be very cloudy because of the excess starch. Just pour that water away, add fresh water, cook, drain and then mash.

But coming back to personal taste and those ten people we asked about perfect mashed potatoes, some people (like my wife) like starchy mashed potatoes. Not gummy, of course, but nice and fluffy and starchy. In that case, skip the soak.

In the end, you will probably need to experiment with a few different varieties of potatoes to come up with your favorite for mashing. You might even find that you like to mash a mixture of high and low-starch potatoes to find your ideal.

To Peel or Not to Peel

I have witnessed heated debates over this issue. Some people call potatoes mashed with the peels still on “smashed” potatoes. The smashed camp will usually say something about the texture variation being appealing.

That there are more nutrients in the skin and that it’s best to leave the skins on. That they just look better on the plate.

People on the “mashed” side talk about how the smooth, regular texture is one of the major appeals of mashed potatoes. That lumpy mashed potatoes are nothing more than under-mashed potatoes and that “smashed potatoes” is just a dish made up at restaurants who didn’t want to take the time to thoroughly mash the potatoes.

I can see both sides of the issue, but I refuse to take sides. Each has their place. To me, it depends on personal taste and also, what else I’m serving. Smashed potatoes are a little more rustic, and smooth mashed potatoes are a bit more refined.

So, I’d probably serve mashed potatoes with a really nice beef tenderloin whereas I might smash some potatoes to go with a piece of grilled sirloin.

When I was growing up, my dad used to grow potatoes in our back yard, and I really came to appreciate freshly harvested home-grown new potatoes mashed with their skins on. In my book, there’s really nothing better. But that doesn’t mean that I always leave the skins on. A

gain, it depends on the circumstance and on what potatoes are available. Believe me, though, if I ever plant potatoes in the back yard with my girls, we are definitely mashing them with the skins on!

If you do choose to leave the skins on, use new potatoes or thin-skinned red potatoes – I tried mashing russets with the skins on and the end result wasn’t too pleasant. The thick skins were too much of a contrast to the creamy potatoes. And, whether or not you choose to leave the skins on, always wash your potatoes well and cut out any eyes.

Cooking them with the Skins in the pot, but not on the potato

I recently read about this interesting technique: peel the potatoes and then gather them up and tie them into a cheesecloth bag. Leave the bag in the pot to boil with the potatoes and then toss it out before mashing. I am not sure why they did it that way.

Maybe it was just the writer’s family tradition, but it seems to me that maybe some of the flavor and nutrients in the skins leach into the water and then are drawn into the potatoes during the cooking process. Maybe this technique offers the best of both worlds.

Creamy, smooth mashed potatoes with extra potato flavor and nutrition from the skins–sounds like the best of both worlds to me!

How to Boil a Potato for Mashing

I’ve always started my potatoes in cold water. My mother did it that way. I do it that way, and I’ve taught my girls to do it that way. But I never stopped to wonder if there was a good reason to start potatoes in cold water until someone asked me that in an email.

Keep in mind, I’m not a professional chef. I’m just a guy who wanted to be able to make a good meal. When people email me with questions like that, I generally don’t already have the answer in my head. I’m not a chef, so the first thing I do is go find a chef and ask him or her.

So, when that email came into my inbox, my first thought was, “well, who wants to cook in water that has been sitting around in a hot water tank?” I didn’t think it was the best, or even correct, answer, though, so I asked a chef friend, David Nelson.

By his tone of voice, he obviously thought I was crazy and said that he didn’t think it would matter but that he’d do some further research.

He found out from The Meat and Potatoes Cookbook to use cold water, but they didn’t offer a reason. Now he was intrigued and posted the question on a chef cooking forum. Now, here’s where things start to get a little scientific, so I’m just going to give you the gist of it to spare you the headache that I got.

  1. Starting the potatoes in cold water allows for more even cooking as the temperature of the potatoes rises slowly.
  2. Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking, says that starch granules gelatinize, or swell up, between 137°F and 150°F. If you just throw the potatoes in already boiling water, the outside starch granules will gelatinize on contact with the water, effectively blocking the water from penetrating farther into the potato.

So, it seems as if there are at least two very good reasons why you should start your potatoes (or any starchy vegetable) in cold water. Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t bring your potatoes up to a gentle boil, it just means that you should start them cold so they can gradually come up to temperature and cook (gelatinize, in this instance) evenly.

wire potato masher

What Tool to Use to Mash Potatoes

Like the answer to most questions about cooking, the right tool for the job depends on your personal taste. If you like very light and fluffy mashed potatoes with no lumps, there’s a tool for that. If you like mashed potatoes with some texture, well, there’s a tool for that, too.

I have four different tools in my kitchen that I can use for mashing potatoes. I also have a couple of tools that some people might want to use but shouldn’t.

First, the list of approved tools for the job:

  1. a wire masher whose mashing surface looks kind of like the electrical coil in your oven – this is the one I use most often.
  2. a stainless steel masher whose mashing surface looks kind of like a miniature manhole cover–solid stainless steel with holes for mashing punched out.
  3. a ricer, which looks like an over-sized garlic press and
  4. an electric mixer, either hand or stand

Wire Masher

I bet almost everyone in America has a wire potato masher in their gadget drawer. The only exception might be low-carb households, but even then, you might want to mash some cauliflower!

The wire masher is generally my go-to tool for mashing potatoes. It’s very versatile: mash a little to have potatoes with some lumps and chunks in them–it’s ideal for making smashed potatoes–mash a lot and get perfectly smooth mashed potatoes.

Since the masher has a relatively small mashing surface (after all, it’s just a thick wire), a wire masher will leave your potatoes relatively light in texture since it doesn’t crush too many delicate starch granules.

Stainless Steel Masher

A stainless steel masher comes with either a long or a U-shaped handle that supports the mashing disc on the end. The disc has lots of little holes (maybe 1/4″ to 1/3″) in it. Mash the masher down through the potatoes, and the potatoes sort of squish through the little holes.

This can require some elbow grease. I think it’s a little too much work for a side dish, but lots of my friends swear by theirs.

You can make either smashed or mashed potatoes with this type of masher, as well, but the potatoes will be a little heavier since the increased surface area of the masher tends to crush more of the starch granules than does the wire masher.

Potato Ricer

Forcing cooked potatoes through a ricer is akin to pressing garlic. Place the cooked potatoes in a cylindrical enclosure fitted with a metal die positively riddled with holes at one end, push the plunger and force the potatoes through the little holes.

The resulting potatoes will be completely smooth and light in texture, making it very easy to incorporate butter and/or milk or any other liquids.

Although silky smooth, riced potatoes can be a little dense. No air gets incorporated as with the other two mashers mentioned above. With those types of mashers, the repeated up and down mashing action incorporated a bit of air, lightening the potatoes.

With a ricer, it’s once through and done, so almost no air is incorporated. I like them that way (along with a bunch of other ways!) but my wife thinks they’re too heavy. See why I learned to cook?

I recently received an email from a home cook who says that he uses a ricer with skin-on small new potatoes. One press, and the potato is forced through the die leaving the skins behind in the ricer. I’m definitely going to have to give that one a try!

An Extra Step – If you like extra air incorporated into your mashed potatoes, after mashing with either a wire masher, stainless steel masher or ricer, beat them for just a minute with a whisk. This will lighten the potatoes a bit.

In fact, if your significant other likes lighter mashed potatoes and you like them denser, just whisk their portion, and everyone is happy.

Electric Mixer

Mashed potatoes made with a hand mixer are the mashed potatoes of my childhood. This is the way my mom used to make them. I can still see her standing there, holding the mixer in one hand and periodically adding some butter and milk.

This style of mashed potato is more accurately called whipped potatoes since a lot of air in incorporated while beating. A chef friend told me that this is the way that restaurants often mash their potatoes. It’s quick, and it increases the volume of the potatoes, making it economical.

What looks like a lot of mashed potatoes is actually partly air bubbles. He also said that whipped potatoes hold up well in a steam table and are great for piping out of a pastry bag.

Again, some people find whipped potatoes to be their favorite kind–light and almost fluffy. Others will find them over-processed. Again, it’s all a matter of taste. Make them the way you like them!

The Food Processor–Not Approved for Mashed Potatoes

The food processor is the enemy of starchy vegetables everywhere. While you’ll want to use it to make tapenade, pesto or hummus, do not use it to mash your potatoes.

While it seems like a good idea to make short work of the job, the extremely high speed at which the blade spins literally smashes the starch granules, and what you end up with is a gluey, starchy, nasty mess.

Choose Your Style

Now you have some options for mashing potatoes. If you want lighter mashed potatoes, whisk them or use a mixer. If you like dense, smooth mashed potatoes, use the ricer. It’s really all about the tool you choose to use.

Just like a painter will get a different result with each brush he chooses to use, you’ll end up with a different version of the same dish depending on what mashing tool you choose.

Mashed Potato FAQ

Should I peel the potatoes before cooking?

This is purely a personal preference. I peel my potatoes first, but I also know people who leave the peels on and then peel them after they are cooked. This sounds like more work than I want to do, but it is an option.

Alternately, you could bundle the peels together in cheese cloth and boil them along with the potatoes like that technique I read about awhile ago.

How should I cook my potatoes for mashing?

Most people boil their potatoes. If you are going to boil yours, start your potatoes in cold water, turn the heat up to medium high and bring the potatoes to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the potatoes until you can pierce them with a fork with almost no resistance.

The time this takes depends on how many potatoes you have in your pan and how large or small you have cut them.

Can I bake my potatoes for mashing?

You can absolutely bake your potatoes for mashing. By nature, boiling introduces water to the potato and can dilute the flavor somewhat.

You can get rid of some of this water by letting the boiled potatoes dry over low heat in a lidded pot for about five minutes after draining. Baking very nicely sidesteps the issue of watery mashed potatoes.

Baking doesn’t introduce any water. In fact, some of the water in the potato will evaporate in the oven, giving you a more concentrated potato flavor.

The only downside that I can see is that it takes longer to bake a potato than it does to boil one. If you plan ahead, though, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Should I salt the water for my mashed potatoes?

If you are going to boil your potatoes, you should definitely salt the water. As when cooking pasta, this is the only way to get flavor into the potato. Well salted water will taste just like sea water.

You can also add pepper or even herbs to the cold water. Those flavors will be drawn into the potato right along with the salt. I wasn’t sure this would work, but I experimented with it one day, and the potatoes tasted wonderful–well seasoned and peppery–before I added additional seasonings.

When should I add the butter? The dairy?    

This is how I mash my potatoes:
a. mash the potatoes alone with some salt and pepper
b. add the butter and continue mashing
c. add the dairy and mash some more.
d. Taste and add any additional seasonings until I like how they taste

Well, it turns out that this is actually the right way to mash potatoes. Just like when you make pie crust, you work in the butter to coat the flour and limit gluten formation.

The butter (or whatever fat you’re using) coats the starch granules and helps to keep them intact and from getting gluey when you add the other liquid. Once the fat is thoroughly mashed into the potatoes, go ahead and add the other liquid.

Can I add other ingredients to my mashed potatoes?

Of course you can. After all, they’re your potatoes! You can mash in fresh herbs, cheeses–anything from cream cheese to cheddar to Swiss–crumbled bacon, anything that a) sounds good and b) goes with whatever else you’re serving.For example, for a British-inspired twist to mashed potatoes, try mashing in some mustard powder and cheddar cheese.

Having roast beef? Mash in some prepared horseradish and some roasted garlic. You don’t have to use all potatoes, either.Substitute part of the potatoes with turnips or parsnips. If you’re feeling very gourmet, mash in some cooked celery root or sunchoke.

Half and half?

Really? I’m watching my figure! I mash my potatoes with half and half because that’s how my mom did it, and I like them that way. You can use any dairy that you choose: buttermilk, 1% milk, skim milk, whole milk are all options. If you’re not concerned with the calories, consider mashing your potatoes with sour cream, full fat plain yogurt or even some heavy cream.

I’m lactose intolerant.

Can I still make mashed potatoes? Just because most mashed potatoes contain dairy doesn’t mean that they have to. You can certainly mash your potatoes with any broth or stock. You can even use some of your potato (or other vegetable) cooking water as part of your liquid.Experiment with using plain soy milk, rice milk or similar.

If you have a juicer, mash your potatoes with some fresh vegetable juice. Celery would be especially tasty, I think. Stay away from brightly colored juices, though–the color might end up being a little weird, and remember, we eat with our eyes first!

I’m watching my cholesterol.

Do I have to use butter in my mashed potatoes? Just like dairy seems to be the go-to liquid for mashed potatoes, butter is the go-to fat. Substitute for some or all of the butter with olive oil. I like to use extra virgin olive oil, because I like the flavor, but you can use regular olive oil if you don’t like how assertive extra virgin olive oil is.

Of course, if you’re not watching your cholesterol, try using some duck fat, chicken fat or even some bacon fat.

What can I do with my leftover mashed potatoes?

Mashed potatoes taste best right after you cook them. We rarely have any leftover mashed potatoes because we really like them, but if you find yourself with some leftover mashed potatoes on your hands, here are a couple of ideas.

a. Reheat them on the stove–not in the microwave–in a covered pan. Add a little bit of butter and cooking liquid of your choice. Reheat them over medium heat, stirring occasionally only after they start warming up. The starches firm up in the refrigerator, so it will be easier to incorporate the extra ingredients once they warm up.

b. Mix in an egg for every cup of leftover potatoes you have. You can also add in some grated Parmesan cheese. Mix together well and scoop 1/4 cup portions onto a hot griddle. Spread to about 1/2″ thick. Cook until golden brown, flip like a pancake, and cook the other side.

c. Make cream of potato soup. Mix leftover mashed potatoes with chicken stock and a touch of cream, heat and season to taste.d. Heat them up and spread them in a pie pan to make a “crust.” Fill with any savory meat and/or vegetable filling and bake for an unconventional “pot pie” or upside down shepherd’s pie.

Can I Make My Mashed Potatoes the Day Before?

I’ve been getting a lot of emails asking if I have a recipe or technique for preparing mashed potatoes the morning of or even the day before Thanksgiving. My answer is no. There are recipes out there for precooking mashed potatoes but I don’t agree with any of them.

It’s my opinion; mashed potatoes are one of the most important elements of Thanksgiving dinner especially since they are the conduit for turkey gravy and how I love turkey gravy. To not cook, mash and serve right away is a bad idea and one I don’t subscribe to trying at your own holiday dinner.

But because there are some of you who don’t have a choice, will be pressed for time and must cook your potatoes before the rest of the meal, you may want to check out Shirley O. Corriher’s recipe for Two-Step Mashed Potatoes from her cookbook CookWise. I have not tried her recipe but CookWise is a great cookbook and it has been well received over the years.



Last modified on Tue 8 November 2016 5:06 pm

Filed in: Side Dish Recipes

Comments (41)

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  1. Yan says:

    Mashed potatoes are my favorite food, and I?ve recently found a great source of information on mashed potato preparation when I came across your mashed potato recipe on I?m writing to you to suggest ideas to further develop your mashed potato recipe found on your site. You show a thorough understanding of the art of cooking mashed potatoes, without being condescending, and the recipe along with your bottom line could benefit from a few adjustments.

    The recipe?s audience is composed of anyone interested in making excellent mashed potatoes. You succeed in helping people make perfect mashed potatoes by pointing out that the preferences of the reader will alter what they perceive as the perfect bowl of mashed potatoes.

    The recipe is divided into three sections: a theoretical explanation of mashed potato preparation, a basic recipe, and comments from visitors. Each section serves an important function and enhances the reader?s ability to make perfect mashed potatoes. Anyone interested in making perfect mashed potatoes will be interested in the theoretical explanation of mashed potato preparation. This section helps the reader identify the nuances of the process and encourages the reader to experiment with these nuances in their pursuit of perfect mashed potatoes.

    It is clear that you have a great deal of knowledge on how to make perfect mashed potatoes, and a knack for explaining to others how to do so themselves. This is an excellent recipe, and I plan on taking full advantage of it in my quest for perfect mashed potatoes.

  2. Doug Radcliffe says:

    Apparently, individual tastes, when it comes to mashed potatoes, can vary widely. I disagree mostly with your contributors. Their results are what we in the Midwest would term ‘whipped potatoes’, something that is to be studiously avoided.

    I would only use mashed potatoes with gravy – never with butter – and they should be slightly dry and textured. (My ex-wife, however, always said that my ‘perfect’ potatoes were ‘lumpy’. (Hers were like library paste!)) This is probably a subject that no one will completely agree on.

    First, I only use peeled, quartered, Idaho baking potatoes. (I have never found any use for red potatoes. And that includes potato salad.) Often I include a piece of rutabaga or parsnip with the potatoes, but it will need a bit of a head start. When they are fork-tender I drain them and return them to the pot, but not under any heat. (I reserve some of the starch water for the gravy which is a simultaneous operation.)

    I crush the potatoes once with a masher, add the milk or half & half, and then let them sit for a couple of minutes so we’re not mixing cold with hot. The ensuing mashing is comprised of a few quick strokes so as not to gum things up. (Much like the care one would take in the delicate mixing of a meatloaf by keeping things aerated.) All other seasonings are in the gravy.

    If I ever crave butter/parsley/garlic/sour cream/ or anything like that on a potato, I would either bake them in hot resin or boil new potatoes in the spring. Mashed is not where that stuff belongs. Sorry.

    • Brent says:

      At least you’re not being condescending about somebody else’s preference for a mashed potato. Oh wait…

      I like to add a half cup of cream cheese to my recipe and season with garlic salt and pepper. That’s my input.

  3. Hillary Froemel says:

    Everyone’s suggestions have been great (especially the pickled walnut one) but I find that instead of milk, using a combination of condensed milk, and regular milk makes mashed potatoes AMAZING! Especially if you use a mixer to blend them.

  4. Rob Clack says:

    Here are 2 alternative ways I like to enhance my mashed potato:
    1. Crush a clove or 2 of garlic in while mashing.
    2. Stir in a few teaspoons of black olive paste.

  5. Nancy Widish says:

    I visited the Idaho Potato web site for tips on mashing potatoes. They suggest placing a quarter of a lemon in the cooking water to prevent potatoes from breaking up. Cook them in their skins to prevent water logging. After cooking, pull the skin from the end of the potato to remove easily. While mashing, add WARM milk to the potatoes gradually to gauge consistency; then add any other favorite condiments.

  6. Christie Chiomento says:

    Hello! My addition to how to make great mashed potatoes, is to leave the skins ON, cut them in half or quarters, and cook until tender. Then, drain, add butter, salt to taste, and pepper, and about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk, depending on how many potatoes you have used. Then, add 1/2 tsp. of Baking Powder, and mix with mixer until fluffy. I, also, add minced onion, on occassion–yum! The baking powder is a French way of doing things, but it does make a difference, and “vive la difference!” Leaving the skins on adds a terrific texture, plus added vitamins–plus, you don’t have to peel the potatoes that way! Christie Chiomento

  7. Tim Wood says:

    Your recipe is wonderful. Another suggestion: I sautee’d shallots until crisp and add them to mashed potatoes with a dash of olive oil – Yum!
    People think you made something special. The shallots are very flavorful.

  8. Janette and richard says:

    Once My potatoes are softened,I remove them from the saucepan, strain them, then put them in the food processor with a pinch of nutmeg, a hunk of mature cheddar cheese, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce.

    Wow, they drive my husband wild…yeahhh.

  9. Lea Curry says:

    I’m here at your web page and I’m going to take a couple of swipes at your mashed potatoes, but not TOO many!

    1) I think that if you are using Yukon golds or Finns, it is better to leave them whole. My theory is that when you quarter them they loose starch into the water.(I am assuming you have fist size or slightly larger).
    2) I use a masher but I cook them a bit longer and they never a lump. I think people undercook their mashed potatoes. they should not be falling apart, but on the other hand I notice no flavor degradation by cooking until VERY soft. I think this is a better way to get rid of lumps, then ricing.
    3) and NOW for the most controversial part: I use half and half rather than milk. I am bad and evil, but it tastes so GOOD!
    4) Also, if you want to pique the sweetness, try throwing in one small quartered parsnip or add more if you like the flavor.

  10. Nancy Kay says:

    I saute 2-3 carrots & 1 onion in butter – make a puree – add a couple of slices of american cheese and mix in mash potato mixture top with parmesan shredded cheese, a bit of drizzled butter and place under broiler until golden.

  11. Harry says:

    Great Web site!!! Regarding your mashed potatoes – my preference is more butter, less milk. Lea Curry’s suggestion of some parsnips is good – as an alternative piquanter I like a heaped teaspoon of hot English mustard. Regards Harry Ventriss

  12. Allan Taylor says:

    Hi Reluctant Gourmet — from Allan Taylor in Adelaide, Australia

    I admit that sometimes I add cream to them when, after mashing, I convert the potato into a puree with a hand-held electric blender. Yummy The next step is presentation, which you neglect to mention. On the dinner plate, if served as such, upon a white cone of potato I add on top half a pickled walnut. These are jet black and have a striking flavor contrast to the potato. If the mashed potato is served in a large bowl at a dinner party I use a surrounding ring of pickled walnuts (which go well with roast meats) to provide a culinary sight worthy of a king. Regards Allan Taylor

  13. Carol Vonrahmlow says:

    You’re missing a key ingredient! Cream Cheese! You’ll be licking your masher clean!
    Also, to the person who suggested half & half, try using fat free evaporated milk. You’ll get that wonderful creamy “fat” flavor, but. . . . . the grams of fat just aren’t there! Try it, you’ll love it! “The Trotting Gourmet”

  14. kylie says:

    i like potatoes. And this font.

  15. Carolop says:

    Mashing potato…we were both right…

  16. adrlyna says:

    expert 🙂

  17. Sandi Waters says:

    Hi. I am enjoying your recipes. It’s a little harder for me because I am lactose intolerant, diabetic, celiac and have diverticulitis. Anyway, I add turnips to my mashed potatoes – makes them very tasty and more healthy. If you try this, I’d love to know how you liked it.

  18. Lionel says:

    I just wish to say that your blog post is well written.
    Hopefully I can follow up with your other forthcoming post if I have time.

    Thanks and stay sharp to carry on with the writting.

  19. RJ Gibson says:

    Consider this recipe, where the ratio of potato to butter is 2 to 1. I tried it, but felt it was just too much butter (and I love butter). Now I go with 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 (depending on how much butter I have) and they are the best mash potatoes I have ever had.

  20. Deb says:

    Great advice and so thorough. I appreciate the thought behind your post. Thanks!

  21. Tammy says:

    I love garlic mashed potato. I boil russet with about 3-4 cloves of garlic and then mashed. The garlic is soft and yummy in the potato add your butter and milk according to the consistancy you want and yum. So easy and you can add more or less garlic cloves depending on taste.

  22. Andrew says:

    The point about ‘with the skins on’ is not simply about taste and texture. Nearly all the ‘goodness’ (Vitamin C, particularly) in a potato is right under the skin, so when you peel potatoes (and whether you put the peels in a bag with the potatoes or not), you lose most of the nutrition.

    If you like smooth mashed potato (without the skins), the most nourishing method is to cook the potatoes with the skins on (it’s best to use medium-sized and uniform potatoes) and then peel off just the brown/red skin with the aid of a knife. It often slips right off, especially if it’s the thicker kind of skin you find on a russet.

  23. Brooks says:

    Gary, you left nothing unturned in this thorough, comprehensive post. Excellent work!

  24. Laurie says:

    Hi, I grew up in farmland ,ontario and We were taught that the general rule for cooking veggis is this.
    If it grows below the ground you start it in cold water then bring to a boil. If it grows above the ground, you start to cook in boiling water. I don’t know why but if it worked for my granny in the early 1900’s there must be something to it.

  25. Spikey says:

    I’m in my 60’s and married 40 some years. During my time of cooking I used Instant Mashed Potatoes which tasted pretty good… I worked full time and raising chiildren with hubby working shift work and I worked around his schedule… I just started making Home Cooked mashed potatoes and followed this recipe leaving some skins on for flavor and vitamins… YUMMMO Missed out on this flavor since a kid where I had a stay at home mom. THANKS… I’m feeling special again

  26. roxi says:

    mash and rutabaga, try it, cook the rutabaga with your potato and mash just as you would with out, love it, gives it a flavor.

  27. Donna says:

    I steam my potatoes whether I eat them whole or mashed. Wonderful!

  28. Shelly says:

    Firstly, thank you so much for sharing your amazing and creative knowledge regarding “The Art of Perfect Mashed Potatoes”, you have provided me with all of the information I was seeking in one shot! I’ll be attempting to create a nice fluffy dish for our Thanksgiving meal. Love your site and look forward to discovering more of your culinary tips.

  29. Marlene Thornton says:

    I make my mashed potatoes just the way the chefs recipe, I have done this since the age of 12 with no problem.

  30. Rose says:

    I’m going to try mashing Yukon or russet potatoes with some sweet potatoes; in a ratio of 25% sweet potatoes. I will also add plenty of butter, cream and seasonings. Hope it turns out the way I expect it to! 🙂

  31. Charlie Schultz says:

    I like to cook my potatoes (No matter which kind) with 2/3 Potatoes and about a 1/3 of the amount with chopped up cauliflower cooked together then I use a old fashioned masher and Carnatian can milk, butter and some crushed garlic,salt, ppepper, and of course real butter. Mix it all with a mixer. Delish!!! And you get veggies with the starch but not as much starch and a lot healthier. I do like to try other root veggies. But I make my potatoes soup except I keep some chunks of potatoes out and add.them back as I warm them back up to serve
    I have really enjoyed reading all the ideas and comments. Thank you.

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